Today I begin a new series on the lessons from the story of Naaman; the most well known healing in the Old Testament.
Naaman had leprosy, but God looks at the heart (1 Sam 16:7) and knew that Naaman needed a much deeper healing.
Naaman had a pride issue. He was the captain of the guard, good friends with the king, power, prestige, money…. He thought his accolades qualified him for healing.
I would say this is probably the most obvious and crucial of the lessons from the story of Naaman because it suggests that pride may very well hinder our receiving of healing.
When we start to think too highly of ourselves, or we become conceited or way too confident, then this is pride.
Pride is sneaky. It can creep into our hearts without us realising. How many times do we unconsciously compare ourselves to others?
Even in church culture, we like to tick the right boxes so we’ll be accepted.
We want to be known by the right people, those in leadership, or the ‘successful’ amongst us. We don’t realise that this is actually pride.
That which we often value, is actually pretty worthless. Naaman’s wealth and all his ‘achievements’ cannot help him now.
Naaman believed he was worthy of healing because he was a man of position and wealth. He had an exalted attitude, full of his own self importance.
He thought healing was something he deserved because of all his accomplishments. As I mentioned a moment a go, this wasn’t necessarily conscious.
He had always operated in this way. I can imagine him judging and criticising others, seeing them through the lens of superiority.
These types of people are what you might call ‘red pen’ people. Do you remember at school, school teachers using red pens to mark work? Highlighting mistakes, errors, things to improve upon or what’s not quite good enough.
I wonder if Naaman was a red-pen person?
WHO ‘SHOULD’ GOD HEAL?
In all honesty though, we all have an element of Naaman in us.
I heard about a lorry driver who caused a young boy to be brain damaged because of reckless driving. He also ended up in a wheelchair.
God healed the driver but not the boy. (I think most of us would be shocked at this.)
I know of a woman with a long term cancer. She has a very close walk with the Lord (as far as I’m aware) who is proficient in various spiritual gifts. She has been unwell for many many years.
I remember thinking years ago, ‘if God hasn’t healed her, what chance do I have?’
But I also can think of a couple of people who have received miracle healings and yet their lifestyles were anything but ‘Godly’.
The point I’m making here, is that we can, like Naaman, think that God ‘should’ heal certain people above others.
I was at a Bill Johnson conference years ago where he told of a scenario of 2 women who approached him for healing.
(I’m not sure if I remember exactly the details). One woman was older with a bad leg. The other was a younger woman who only had a couple of weeks left to live. Bill ministered to the older woman.
She tried to convince him to minister to the younger woman, to which he replied ‘the Holy Spirit says I must minister to you’. The older woman with the bad leg was healed.
How many times in church life, do we expect God to do what we think he should? This is one of those examples.
As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Elisha knew that Naaman needed to learn humility which is why, I suspect, he didn’t greet him, much to Naaman’s annoyance.
Elisha even instructed him to go wash in the ‘dirty’ river Jordan (not the most prestigious river). Again, this made Naaman anger and ‘full of rage’. Naaman was brought to the end of himself.
This is completely opposite to Jairus who, also a man with wealth and leadership, fell on his knees in front of Jesus. He worshipped him, knowing that no amount of money or fame could cause Jesus to heal his daughter.
Naaman obeys the instruction (eventually) to bathe 7 times in the Jordan and at the receiving of his miracle, is full of praise for God.
This is a complete turnaround.
God knew Naaman needed healing from pride which would hinder the healing. He gave him an opportunity to overcome it.
I love that God knows what we need more than we do.
If there is something in your life that needs healing, rest assured that God will see to it that you are given every opportunity for Him to heal you from it.
HEART OF HUMILITY
Whilst we learn many transforming lessons from the story of Naaman, honouring God comes first.
We worship Him for who He is. He is all powerful, all knowing, ever present and revealed such love when He gave up His only begotten Son.
We are unable to authentically worship God, without the revelation of honour. No-one ever received a healing in Scripture where honour wasn’t present.
Every miracle, every breakthrough…….happened when people honored what he carried…..or honored who He was’
Russel Evans ‘The Honour Key’
The story shows that honour and humility were the most important lessons Naaman needed to learn prior to his healing.
If he had refused to humble himself to the man of God, there would be no miracle. See HOW TO HONOUR GOD: THE KEY TO HEALING
God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.
We honour God is a variety of ways; tithing, generosity, being kind and loving others, honouring our leaders, worshipping, putting God first place, forgiving others…..
It’s pride that stops us from doing these from the heart.
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
God gave Naaman, through Elisha, an opportunity to be humble.
HEART OF HONOUR
If this is something you need to grow in (and I think we can all grow in humility and honour), ask God for opportunities.
John Bevere says this “No Christian wants to place limitations on God, but many of us unknowingly restrict His activity in our lives because we ignore a critical spiritual principle: Honor.”
Wouldn’t it be sad if we missed out on healing because of a lack of honour?
Can you picture the world around you, if we all stopped comparing ourselves with others and fixed our eyes upon the only one who matters? Jesus was the Son of God yet He never saw Himself as superior.
God heals because of Jesus (and because He loves people). No-one is more deserving, it’s all about Him. See JESUS CLEANSES THE LEPER. IS HE WILLING TO HEAL YOU?
I hope this blesses you today.
For more lessons from the story of Naaman, why not read the next in the series: